Support Elder Independence at Home, pt. 3
How can you support your elderly parents to remain at home, and remain independent?
Encourage elderly to remain active, and involved — physically if possible; emotionally through communication — in family life. Connect kids, grandchildren, local and distant friends. And, help to maintain their favorite social activities, which may include clubs, church, and/or volunteerism.
— Ask for their input when making decisions and plans. Keep them involved. Making daily decisions helps seniors stay independent. Whether it’s choosing favorite dinners, picking a movie, or planning family outings. Make elders a part of the decision making.
— Help them make new connections. Sometimes, they just need someone to nudge them a bit. Staying social helps prevent loneliness. If your elders are interested in reading, suggest a local or virtual book club. Do they enjoy cooking? Encourage them to sample a cooking class. Suggest a painting or pottery lesson. Explore your local Senior Center for programs, exercise, art, lifelong learning activities. or simply a coffee with friends.
— Enlist the services of a home care agency. Care staff will provide some supervision, help with household chores; and a “personal” presence to promote socialization.
— Many seniors have a set routine. Encourage seniors to use retirement as an opportunity to shake things up and explore interests they may not have pursued before. Has your mom always enjoyed trips to the theater, or museum? Does your dad watch documentaries about military history? Try out a class at the local community college or join a weekly VA meeting. Encourage them to try new things.
— Promote feelings of accomplishment. Consider results-oriented projects that can offer a sense of accomplishment, like crafts, redecorating, or even spring cleaning. Everyone appreciates the feeling of a job well done.
To support and enable your elderly parents to age at home, it’s vital to support their autonomy and encourage them to maintain independence.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164